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A work environment that is both productive and smooth has several distinguishing characteristics. Employees are motivated to promote your company's mission statement, everyone realizes they need to work and cooperate as a team, and workers are mindful of how good ethics upholds your business's upstanding image. The collapse of any of these traits can cause nightmares for you and HR services.

A growing body of research highlights one modifiable risk factor for ethical lapses among employees – poor sleep habits. According to an article published in Workforce magazine, inadequate time sleeping can make workers more likely to act unethically in the office.

"Decades ago, people believed that good people do good things and bad people do bad things and never the twain shall meet," Christopher Barnes, assistant professor of management at University of Washington's Foster School of Business, told Workforce. "Over the past 20 years or so, there is growing body of research that the same person can be good in some situations and bad in other situations. One of the factors that determines whether you're good or bad on a given day is how well you slept the night before."

Sleep is restorative
The reason why inadequate sleep time increases the risk for unethical behavior is that sleep is restorative to a portion of the brain that is responsible for control of emotions, behavior and judgment. Without sufficient rest, employees become more likely to give into the temptation of unethical behaviors, such as taking credit for someone else's work, and less likely to have moral awareness. Barnes and his colleagues define moral awareness as objective knowledge that certain behaviors are unethical.

In addition to promoting unethical behavior, inadequate sleep time also makes it difficult for employees to concentrate or be mindful of safety issues.

Create a healthier environment
According to Workforce, there are several ways that you, as the employer, can promote an environment where employees get enough sleep. Some big companies have created nap rooms, knowing that naps as short as 6 minutes may be adequate to make workers feel more energetic. Also, some offices have direct coffee delivery from popular shops because caffeine has been shown to be a mediating factor when it comes to sleep problems.

You may also want to adopt a wellness program that educates workers about good sleep habits. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, these include cessation of alcohol and stimulants within eight hours prior to bedtime, adoption of a relaxing bedtime routine and absence of distractions from the bedroom, such as any electronics with bright screens.